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Pharmacy jar: C.46-1927

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Maker: Unknown (Perhaps)




Maiolica two-handled pharmacy jar, painted in blue, green, yellow, and orange with a dove holding an olive branch above the inscription `S + domine + f + An', surrounded by grotesques.

Buff earthenware, tin-glazed greyish-blue on the exterior and interior of the neck and shoulders; the glaze has crawled, particularly on the handles. Painted in blue, green, yellow, and orange.
Ovoid with cylindrical neck, projecting flat rim, broad strap handles scrolling inwards at the top and outwards at the bottom, and, below them, three oak leaves and two acorns applied in relief.
On the front in an oval panel with a blue background is a dove holding an olive branch in its beak, standing on a scroll inscribed `AVE GRACIA'. Below is a label inscribed `S + domine + f + An'. The rest of the jar is decorated with grotesques, comprising cornucopiae, dolphins, winged heads, books, and seven labels dated `1541', reserved in an orange ground. Round the lowest part and the neck are borders of plant motifs reserved in a blue ground. The handles are blue with a green stripe down the middle. The leaves below are green and the acorns yellow and orange. `XII' is incised into the top of the rim.


History note: C. & E. Canessa, 125 Avenue des Champs Elysées, Paris, from whom purchased for 8,000 Francs on 22 April 1919 by F. Leverton Harris.

Legal notes

F. Leverton Harris Bequest

Measurements and weight

Height: 32.5 cm
Width: 34.2 cm

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1926) by Harris, Frederick Leverton


16th Century
Production date: AD 1541 : dated 1541


The jar was attributed to Faenza on Canessa's bill, but this was deleted and Siena substituted, presumably because of the orange ground.

School or Style


Components of the work

Decoration composed of high-temperature colours ( blue, green, yellow, and orange) tin-glaze
Rim Diameter 13.2 cm
Base Diameter 15.5 cm

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production

Throwing : Buff earthenware, tin-glazed greyish-blue on the exterior and interior of the neck and shoulders; the glaze has crawled, particularly on the handles. Painted in blue, green, yellow, and orange.

Inscription or legends present

  • Text: XII
  • Location: Top of rim
  • Method of creation: Incised
  • Type: Inscription

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: C.46-1927
Primary reference Number: 48323
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 18 December 2023 Last processed: Monday 18 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Applied Arts

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Pharmacy jar" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-07-23 03:18:42

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{{cite web|url= |title=Pharmacy jar |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-07-23 03:18:42|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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